Trading Ronnie Brewer and adding Kenyon Martin, the Knicks (32-19), with superstar Carmelo Anthony, standouts Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler, and effective ballplayers Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Raymond Felton, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, are a healthy unit for the first time this season.
“We had early success against Miami,” said Woodson, 54, a no-nonsense defensive mind who has compiled an impressive record of 50-25 since replacing the terminated Mike D’Antoni in February 2012. “That’s all well and good. But when you get in a seven-game series, that’s different. Anything can happen. Injuries can occur, guys can lose confidence. But if we’re healthy, yes, we have an opportunity to beat Miami or anybody in the East.”
Although a posse of geriatrics rivaling the Golden Girls in high tops, Chandler, Stoudemire, Camby, Wallace and Martin provide the Knicks with invaluable muscle that can pressurize the relatively diminutive Heat (37-14) and create numerous mismatches in the paint.
With Woodson overseeing the squad, the Knicks sit atop the Atlantic Division and its evident the elders will continue contending in the Eastern Conference throughout the rest of winter and into the spring months.
Respecting Miami’s trio of future Hall of Famers, it is difficult to envision the Knicks preventing the Heat from going back-to-back in June.
Regardless, excluding Miami, the Knicks “have an opportunity to beat anybody in the East” and advance to the conference finals for the first time since the 1999-2000 campaign.
For wrongly starved Gotham basketball fans who haven’t witnessed a Knicks championship since 1973, “that’s all well and good.”by